Genes and behavior
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 64

Genes and Behavior PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Genes and Behavior . Nature vs Nurture. Nature Genetic component Nurture Environmental . Nature. Genetic constraints on development of recognition Sensitive period of exposure to model Learning triggered by specific stimuli (ex. Movement or sound) Learning is rapid and long lasting

Download Presentation

Genes and Behavior

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Genes and behavior

Genes and Behavior

Nature vs nurture

Nature vs Nurture

  • Nature

    • Genetic component

  • Nurture

    • Environmental



  • Genetic constraints on development of recognition

  • Sensitive period of exposure to model

  • Learning triggered by specific stimuli (ex. Movement or sound)

  • Learning is rapid and long lasting

  • Learning is apparently irreversible


Nature vs nurture the story of a white crowned sparrow

Nature vs NurtureThe story of a White crowned sparrow

What s a dialect

What’s a dialect?

  • A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary

The phenomena

The Phenomena

Is it nature

Is it Nature?

  • How could we test this?

White crowned sparrow song variation

White Crowned Sparrow Song Variation

  • Different populations of birds have distinctively different song dialects

  • Are different dialects caused by different genes?

Is it nurture

Is it Nurture?

  • White Crowned sparrows were placed in a chamber isolated from sounds

  • Isolated birds were unable to produce a complete song, only twitters

  • Conclusion- a critical environmental factor was missing

Next stage of birdie torture

Next Stage of Birdie Torture…

  • White Crowned sparrows were placed in a chamber and adult song played to them

  • Birds closely mimicked song that was played to them

  • Berkeley bird would sing San Francisco song

  • What does this tell us about bird song dialects?

Genes and behavior

  • Hearing bird song of same species stimulates gene expression in brain

  • Proteins synthesized modify the functions of brain cells

  • Alters birds ability to remember song

Nucleic acids

Nucleic acids

  • Information storage molecules

  • Directions for building proteins

  • Found in nuclei of eukaryotes

  • Two forms

    • Deoxyribonucleic acid

    • Ribonucleic acid

  • Polymers of nucleotides



  • Nucleotides are the building blocks of nucleic acids

  • Nitrogenous base

    • Adenine

    • Guanine

    • Cytosine

    • Thymine (DNA only)

    • Uracil (RNA only)

Information stored in sequence of nucleotides

Information stored in Sequence of Nucleotides

Genes and behavior


  • Located in the nucleus of cells

  • Has the capacity to store genetic information

  • Instructions for all life and life processes

    • Contains protein building instructions

    • “blueprint” of life

  • Can be copied and passed from generation to generation

  • Uses specific code built into sequence of nucleotides

Dna replication is semiconservative

DNA Replication is Semiconservative

Chromatin vs chromosomes

Chromatin vs Chromosomes

Genetic code

Genetic code

  • Genes have nucleotide code for building proteins

    • Proteins are made of amino acids

  • The set of rules giving the correspondence between nucleotides of nucleic acids and amino acids of proteins

Genes located on chromosomes

Genes Located on Chromosomes

  • Gene

    • Sequence of nucleotides that is the unit of hereditary information

    • Ie. A recipe

  • Genome

    • The sum of an individuals genes

Gene expression

Gene Expression

  • How dna’s instructions are carried out

  • Code in gene is copied and used to build proteins or run other jobs

  • Involves multiple steps

    • transcription

    • translation

  • Uses dna and rna

In animal and plant cells dna is isolated in the nucleus

In animal and plant Cells… DNA is Isolated in the Nucleus

Protein Building Structures in cytoplasm

Transcription vs translation

Transcription vs translation

  • Transcription

  • Translation

  • Transcription occurs in the nucleus

  • Translation occurs in the cytoplasm

  • This is how genes control the structures and activities of cells



  • Converts Dna to rna

    • Results in strand of messenger rna (template)

    • Uses Complementary base pair rule

  • Region of copying unwinds & then rewinds after mrna is complete

Messenger rna mrna

Messenger RNA (mRNA)

  • RNA Template of DNA

  • Single strand of nucleotides

  • Moves from inside nucleus to cytoplasm



  • Converts from nucleic acid (nucleotide) language to the protein language (amino acid)

  • Converts mRNA to protein

Ribosomes help build proteins

Ribosomes Help build proteins

Protein builds your body

Protein Builds your Body

Protein runs your body proteins can change cell functions

Protein Runs your BodyProteins Can Change Cell Functions

Changes in cell activity can lead to changes in behavior

Changes in Cell Activity Can Lead to Changes in Behavior

Honey bee caste

Honey Bee Caste



  • Reproductive female

  • Lays eggs



  • Maintain hive

  • Sterile with un-functional gonads

  • Care of larvae hatched from Queen’s eggs

    • Nurse workers

  • Construct honeycomb

  • Regulate hive’s temperature

  • Defense of colony from predators and parasites

  • Collection of pollen and nectar

Development of worker s role

Development of Worker’s Role

  • Begins as a honeycomb cleaner after hatching

  • Nurse bee- feeds honey to larvae

  • Distributes food to workers

  • Forages for pollen and nectar outside the hive

    • (approx 3 weeks)

      What regulates this change in behaviors?

Variation in gene expression influences behavior

Variation in Gene Expression Influences Behavior

  • Comparison of gene activity from nurse and worker bees

  • 2000 genes change their activity within the first 4 days of a bees life

  • Comparison of 4 day old bees and 8 day old bees showed 600 additional genes exhibited altered activity

  • Differences in gene activity contribute to developmental changes occurring in brains of the bees

Social environment influences gene expression

Social Environment Influences Gene Expression

  • Presence of older foragers inhibits young from maturing into foragers

  • Transfer of chemicals (ethyl oleate) from foragers when regurgitating nectar to nurses inhibits transition into forager

Gene expression is a complex process

Gene Expression is a Complex Process

  • It is not solely dependent on whether a gene is active or not

  • Genes and the environment have a complex interaction in driving phenotypes and behavior

Genes and behavior

  • The one gene–one protein hypothesis states that the function of an individual gene is to dictate the production of a specific protein

Genes are made of introns exons


Segments of DNA that code for AA


Sections of nucleotides that do not code for AA

Regulatory function

Genes are made of Introns & exons

Genes and behavior

mRNA Is Processed

  • mRNA processing can influence gene expression

  • MRNA is spliced (cut & paste)

    • Introns removed

  • MRNA ends are capped

Mrna is spliced

mRNA Is Spliced

Rna processing



Addition of cap and tail



with cap

and tail


Introns removed

Exons spliced together


Coding sequence



Rna processing

Mrna splicing is an example of epigenetics

mRna splicing is an example of Epigenetics

Wait, what’s epigenetics?



  • The study of changes in phenotype caused by mechanisms that influence gene expression without effecting the underlying genes

  • Results as a consequence of DNA methylation or histone acetylation

  • Suppress gene expression without altering the silenced genes

Factors that influence epigenome

Factors that influence Epigenome

  • Development in utero

  • Environmental chemicals

  • Drugs/ pharmaceuticals

  • Aging

  • Diet

Consequences of epigenetics

Consequences of Epigenetics

  • Mechanism to cause changes in phenotype or behavior independent of genotype

  • Can result in changes of phenotype

  • Can result in changes in behavior

  • Can result in health effects

Epigenome can be inherited

Epigenome can be inherited

  • Methylated regions of DNA are copied when a cell replicates

    • Cell memory

  • Parents may contribute their epigenome to offspring

Epigenetics influenced by diet

Epigenetics Influenced by Diet

  • Compounds in food sources are extracted by the body

  • Compounds are modified metabolically to build molecules necessary for building and running the body

  • Some of these molecules are used to make epigenetic tags that interact with DNA to silence genes

  • Ex. Methyl groups

Epigenetics and diet

Epigenetics and Diet

  • Honey bees

  • Complex social groups made up of

  • 1 Queen, workers, drones

  • Queen is the only reproductive individual

  • Reproduction is asexual so all other members of the hive are identical clones

  • How does phenotypic & behavioral variation occur?

Epigenetics and diet1

Epigenetics and Diet

  • Royal jelly

  • Protein rich substance secreted by pharyngeal glands of worker bee

  • Larva destined to become a queen is fed large quantities of royal jelly by worker bees (nurse)

Epigenetics and diet2

Epigenetics and Diet

  • Royal jelly diet interacts with genes

    • Royalactin

  • Royal jelly silences Dnmt3 gene

  • Dnmt3 gene codes for a protein involved in genome-wide gene silencing

  • When Dnmt3 is active it silences genes in bee larva and inhibits them from developing into a queen

  • Royal Jelly consumed by queen be inactivates the Dnmt3 gene so genes can remain active and result in queen characteristics

  • Effects morphology, physiology, life span and behavior

Allows queen morphology to develop

Allows Queen Morphology to Develop

  • Queen develops functional ovaries and a larger abdomen for laying egg

Allows queen behavior to develop

Allows Queen Behavior to Develop

  • Queen behaviors

  • Egg laying behaviors

  • Kills rival queens

  • Produce communication sounds

    • “piping”


  • Pheromone production

    • Mandibular gland

    • Influences gene expression in worker bee brains

  • Mating flights

    • Mates with drones from another colony

    • Average 12

Epigenetics and diet what happens if your diet is poor in

Epigenetics and DietWhat happens if your diet is poor in

In adults changes are reversible

In adults changes are reversible

  • Switching to a diet rich in methyl donating molecules can promote Methylation of genome

Epigenetics and embryonic development

Epigenetics and Embryonic Development

  • Mothers diets deficient in methyl-donating folate or choline during late fetal or early post natal causes portions of genome to be under-methylated for life

Epigenetics and embryonic development1

Epigenetics and Embryonic Development

  • Unmethylated agouti gene results in a yellow coat. Prone to disease.

  • Methylated gene results in brown color and low risk of disease

Toxin exposure and epigenome

Toxin Exposure and Epigenome

  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound used in making polycarbonate plastic (ex. Water bottle and tin cans)

  • Exposed yellow agouti mothers produced more unhealthy offspring than normal

  • Methyl rich diet helped counteract negative effects of exposure

Center for disease control

Center for Disease Control

  • BPA’s toxic effects in lab experiments are on rise

  • Compare to rates of same diseases in humans (left)

Epigenetics of twins

Epigenetics of twins






  • Login